Find yourself having too many times adding and removing console output command just to inspect variables or process flow? Switch to step-by-step code execution, breakpoint-based debugging using IDE (PHPStorm) and XDebug to save time and your sanity. This article will guide you through how to achieve that with the context of a Laravel app in a Docker container and about debugging an Artisan command.
1. Install Xdebug plugin for PHP and config Xdebug to play well on Docker
Double-check if the PHP version installed in your Docker container already has Xdebug (by using command
php -v and see if the output says anything about Xdebug). If you don't already have Xdebug installed, you need to install it before continuing.
After installing Xdebug, create a file named
/<installed php folder>/conf.d/ and save these lines into it (note that you can use
php --ini to know where your php configs are located at):
# For Xdebug version 2.x
xdebug.remote_port=9001 # or any other arbitrary port
# For Xdebug version 3.x
docker-compose stop and
docker-compose start (or if you don't use docker-compose then it should be
docker container stop and
docker container start respectively) to restart the container and make the changes take effect.
Finally, verify that the PHP > Debug section in your PHPStorm setting to make sure that the Xdebug port there points to the same port you defined in the
2. Config the PHPStorm CLI interpreter
This should be very straightforward. In the PHP section in PHPStorm setting, create a new CLI interpreter config from your docker/docker-compose setting. PHPStorm will import the settings and magically getting CLI interpreter configs into place.
If you opt to configure a new CLI, verify that the IDE correctly detects the interpreter executable and debugger availability status after configuration.
3. Setup debug configuration
The last step to get your interactive debugger working is to open Run/Debug Configuration and create a new "PHP Script" configuration. Refer to the image below.
The "File" should point to your local machine's Laravel artisan file.
In the "Arguments", type in your artisan command's parameters.
For the "Interpreter", select the CLI that you have configured in step 2 above.
After finishing all the settings, apply and OK, and we're good to go!
4. Set breakpoint, and start debugging process
Refer to the image below. I created a simple artisan command for this article (in fact, the content is exactly what
make:command generates, plus some dead simple code for demonstration). After setting a breakpoint (as arrow 1 in the image), pressing "Start debug" icon (as arrow 2) to start the debug session.
The debugger should stop at the breakpoint, conveniently displays all variables' values up to this step. From here, you can execute code step-by-step, continue executing the program until the next breakpoint or stop executing altogether. Much more elegant and time-saving than logging debug messages to the console, no?
I hope this can help your Laravel artisan CLI app debugging session in Docker and PHPStorm become easier and more enjoyable.